Tiffany & Co. Blue Cardboard Box ...eBay Listing Removed: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Item

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 00:13.

 

I was selling a Tiffany & Co. blue gift box on eBay yesterday -- until I got the message I have included below.

The box is the real thing, a pretty blue box from Tiffany & Co. A gift came in it many years ago. I found it cleaning out the attic and thought maybe someone on eBay would like to buy it. It is in good condition and seemed too nice to go in the cardboard recycling. eBay's stance on this item seems unreasonable. Its not counterfeit. I did not put the Tiffany & Co. logo on a box I painted blue. What if this was a Tiffany & Co. ring or a crystal vase -- don't I have the right to sell something that I own regardless of its brand name? Tiffany & Co. does not sell their boxes (though I am sure the pretty signature packaging is figured in the cost), but how can they control what customers do with the boxes once they leave the store. 

If you are interested in a Tiffany & Co. blue box, dimensions: 7.5 H x 14 W x 9 D ins. good condition, the bidding was up to $3.00 when it got pulled.

eBay Listing Removed: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Item The listing was removed because it violated eBay policy.

We notified members who placed bids on the item that the listing has been canceled. Trademark infringement is unlawful and violates eBay's policies. A trademark is a unique sign (such as a name, word, phrase, logo, or symbol) that a company uses to identify its products and/or services. Using another company's trademark in a way that may confuse buyers about the source of goods or services, or confuses buyers into believing that the seller is affiliated with, sponsored by or endorsed by the trademark owner is both illegal and against eBay's policies. Examples include counterfeits, unauthorized replica items and items that bear the brand or logo of a company without that company's permission.

Guideline: If the product you are listing bears the brand or logo of a company, but it wasn't made or authorized by that company, don't sell it on eBay. Sellers are not permitted to list items that encourage or enable others to infringe another party or company's trademarks, or that provide instruction that would enable and encourage others to commit such acts. For more information visit the following Help page: http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/encouraging.html For more information visit the following Help page: http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/trademark.html To take the intellectual property tutorial, please visit: http://pages.ebay.com/help/tutorial/verotutorial/intro.html Please be aware that any additional violations of this policy may result in the suspension of your account. eBay understands that you may be concerned about this situation.

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EBAY IS OVERREACTING ON TRADE MARK CENSUR

 Although the followiing quote is Ebay's (sent to you when they pulled the auction) they did not read it or understand it themselves.

"Using another company's trademark in a way that may confuse buyers about the source of goods or services, or confuses buyers into believing that the seller is affiliated with, sponsored by or endorsed by the trademark owner"

Clearly there was no confusion about who was selling the item.  It was crystal clear that Tiffany's was not selling the item, but rather it was a used Tiffany item being resold.  

"confusion" is the operative word.

If Ebay's policy was being correctly applied, it would mean that  if you were trying to sell a used Mercedes Benz automobile, your used car photos couldn't show the Mercedes Benz star, you couldn't show the name "Mercedes Benz" on the side of the car in your used car photo, or even list the car with the name Mercedes Benz - because the name and the star are trademarked.  

Clearly any private party like you can advertize any car for sale by its trade marked name. 

Ebay is overreacting.   This could be an opportunity to build a  niche for a more adverterous/intellectual property law minded web auction site because Ebay must be sending away a lot of business. 

ebay

Ebay has been sending away business for a long time.  I used to sell alot on Ebay.  I quit about eight years ago when it went from simple and broad based to extremely too complicated.

Enter Craig's list... which was a great solution for a time.  Now Craig's List has risen to the top of the bottom common denominator.  

I'm seeing some opportunity here...

Tiffany box

 Hi,

I'd like to purchase the box if it's still available. I'm willing to pay $25. Please let me know if it's still available. Thank you!

Tiffany box for sale!

Tiffany box for sale!

Contact evelyn [dot] kiefer [at] case [dot] edu - and thanks

Disrupt IT